The following is a statement from Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-Seattle) on the June 3, 2016 oil train derailment in Oregon. Rep. Farrell sponsored The Oil Transportation Safety Act, which passed the legislature in 2015.
“I am saddened to hear that yet another oil train disaster is occurring today, right across our shared border with Oregon. The increasing number of oil trains traveling through our region are making events like the oil train derailment and fire in Mosier, Oregon today far too common. While it is fortunate that there aren’t any reports of people being injured in today’s derailment, there is surely harm to our natural environment from oil spills. Additionally, these same trains run through our most populated areas – like Seattle and Tacoma – so it is easy to imagine a disaster more like the derailment in Quebec in 2013 that killed 47 people.
“In 2015, I was able to successfully advocate to take some steps towards strengthening our laws regarding oil trains. As directed in the bill I sponsored, HB 1449, the Washington State Department of Ecology is currently conducting rule-making to give first responders and local governments notification about when oil trains will be traveling through their jurisdictions so that there can be a coordinated, prepared response ready in case of emergencies. These new rules will be a big step towards keeping our communities safe when oil disasters happen.
“But there is still more to do. My thoughts are with the people of Mosier and the region as it deals with the consequences of today’s derailment and I am hopeful that we can continue working to make sure that public safety is prioritized over the profits of the oil companies.”